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Oliver Letwin column: Genuine examples of the Big Society
12:58pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
I see in last week’s Bridport News, two reports about local festivals – one about the hat festival which occurred just recently, and the other about the literary festival which is about to occur.
I don’t want to pretend that either of these festivals will have the international impact of an event like the Olympics.
And I am sure that many local inhabitants are not directly affected either by the hats or by the literary stars.
But I do really think that these two festivals say something very important about Bridport.
It isn’t, after all, an easy thing to organise one of these programmes. An immense amount of ingenuity, time and effort is required to mount them and to carry them off successfully.
Those involved typically have nothing personal to gain – and an enormous number of people give their time and energy to these tasks with very little by way even of thanks, let alone honour or reward.
And yet the spirit of the town is immeasurably enhanced by the energy these sorts of events realise – and these festivals contribute in lots of unseen ways to the vibrant cultural life that marks out Bridport.
Of course, these two specific festivals are just one part of an immense tapestry of activity.
The annual carnival is just one of a thousand other examples of people in Bridport mobilising in one way or another to enhance the life of the town.
No one of these items is, by itself, either necessary or sufficient to make Bridport what it is.
But each of them contributes to the kaleidoscope, and the wonder of it all is that absolutely nobody has arrived on the scene with a clipboard or a set of officials to make these things happen. They are genuine examples of the Big Society – people getting together to do things together that enrich what is available to us all.